Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), aka The Ex, is an annual event held at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The CNE grew out of an annual late summer fair at a time when Toronto was the centre of a farming community. It is Canada's largest fair and the fifth largest in North America, with an average annual attendance of 1.3 million.
Prior to the CNE, a major agricultural fair was held in a different city every year in the province of Ontario. In 1878, Toronto hosted the fair, and it was a major success with over 100,000 visitors. Based on the success, local politicians and business groups lobbied for a permanent summer fair to be held yearly in Toronto. This was fought by other Ontario communities that feared the loss of business from having to compete with a major fair. The travelling fair allowed rural communities to get exposure that they would not normally have had.
The Toronto operators won and the first "permanent" fair was held in 1879 as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition at what is now Exhibition Place. The current grounds from the Gardiner Expressway (north end), to Lake Shore Boulevard (south end), and from Strachan Avenue (east end), to the Dominion Gates (west end), Exhibition Place covers 196.6 acres (0.796 km2) of land. During the CNE, when all parking areas are included, such as the Gore Lot, Marilyn Bell Park, Coronation Park and Battery Park, the size of Exhibition Place swells to 260 acres (1.1 km2).
In 1937 Patty Conklin of Conklin Shows was awarded the contract for the CNE midway and his company continued to provide this service to the CNE until 2004, at which point it merged with other leading midway operators to form North American Midway Entertainment (NAME).
The CNE was not held between 1942 and 1946, when the land and its facilities were turned over to the Department of National Defence as a training ground. After World War II, it was used as a demobilization centre.
On August 22, 1952 at 2:30 PM local time, the CBC tested television broadcasting by airing the opening of the 73rd Canadian National Exhibition. This was the first ever (unofficial) broadcast in Canadian television history.
Over the years the CNE has changed extensively to meet the needs of the growing and changing demographics of Toronto and Southern Ontario...read more story at Wikipedia.org